November 8, 2009
Grandpa Ron and I had a great time at the California State Railroad Museum yesterday in Sacramento, CA. We wandered through the Lincoln Exhibit and learned many new tidbits of information. For example, neither of us knew that Abe Lincoln floated down the Mississippi River on a flat boat to take items to market in New Orleans. It gave him a small impression of how large the United States is and helped ground his firm belief that railroads were a way to unite the country. The name of the exhibit is “The Rail Splitter and the Railroads: Lincoln, the Union and the Golden State.” It will be showcased in the Museum’s Theater Mezzanine Gallery through February 15, 2010.
We also got to tour the inside of the beautiful Gold Coast Observation car which was a special treat not normally offered during regular visits to the museum. From the museum website: “Georgia Northern No. 100 Gold Coast Central of Georgia 1905 Private Car Ex Central of Georgia No. 97; Georgia Northern No. 100; Lucius Beebe & Charles Clegg’s private car. Gift 8/1969 of R&LHS, Pacific Coast Chapter. Restored by CSRM to 1948-50 appearance.”
Here’s the special Kid’s Corner.
We were there for a special Trainmaster Reception event for museum donors. We had a really wonderful time meeting other patrons of the museum and tapping our toes to the music of the Black Irish Band as they sang lots of railroad songs along with their Irish and Italian numbers.
The museum is a great place to take the grandkids and family – the kids get to see up front and close just how big the train cars are! Train rides are also possible. Here is visitor information. Here is the 2009 Calendar of Events.
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October 21, 2009
Just read through my Sierra Club magazine tonight. I really enjoyed the article written by Peter Frick-Wright called Winter Tracks: Seeking a guilt-free winter break, with snowboard and train ticket. I linked it to share with you, too. He went from Portland, Oregon to Glacier National Park and Whitefish, Montana. It’s quite an exhilarating story!
May 23, 2009
The illustration of Grandpa Ron and Austin watching big trains in my book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too! is from a photo I took at the Vancouver Washington Railway Station while we watched trains ( called rail fanning ) after Austin woke up from his nap on his 3rd Birthday Party Day. The Vancouver station is special because it is on a “wye” so it has two front doors – one on the northwest side for North-South traffic and one on the southeast for traffic turning East. There are two major Amtrak trains that stop daily each way here: The Empire Builder and The Coast Starlight, and then there are also eight Amtrak Cascades. Here is an interesting article from 2002 about the renovation plans for the station. It is fun to see how it compares to what is happening now (2 more Cascades are going through it!)
There is also a lot of BNSF, Union Pacific and Portland & Western Railroad freight traffic coming and going – and local sorting in the yard, so Grandpa Ron and Austin had lots of trains to watch!
May 17, 2009
A friend wanted suggestions for a romantic getaway to celebrate a 1 year milestone and I thought but a minute before coming up with Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge, located about 30 miles from Seattle, Washington. Grandpa Ron and I enjoyed a weekend there many years ago and we still talk about it! It is where we adopted Bear, our first of now very many bears. He was sitting in the middle of the pillows on our bed when we arrived. We paid his adoption fee in the Gift Shop and he has gone on almost every trip we’ve taken anywhere ever since!
Salish Lodge has many scheduled activities that you can participate in. Even if the lodge is too high end for yur budget, Snoqualmie has other hotels and there are other nearby cities to stay. There is hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, whitewater rapids, fishing and golfing galore – and a Railroad Museum!! We loved the train ride and the informative interpretive tour.
May 14, 2009
It’s free and really something to see! In a huge non-traditional, attention-getting publicity tour, a decorated train will make a national tour starting May 22 in Los Angeles for Disney’s A Christmas Carol movie due out Nov 6. Anthony Breznican wrote about it in Disney stokes publicity engine in the May 8, 2009, USA Today. The article has the whole cross country schedule.
May 8, 2009
People are getting Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too! delivered and they are loving it! Yes!! I’m so happy!!
May 4, 2009
Grandpa Ron has a subscription to Model Railroader magazine and we both usually read it from cover to cover. Grandpa enjoys the articles on operations and I read up on the scenery articles. The December 2008 issue has a wonderful example of grandpas passing hobbies on to grandkids. It is a similar story for how Grandpa Ron got into model trains and I’m sure there are many more similar remembrances. I have added as a separate page the Trains of Thought column by Tony Koester. It is reprinted with permission from Model Railroader magazine.